Good Sam Blog

From the Vestry: Priorities for 2020

In last week’s E-News, Fr. Steve introduced the following three ministry priorities that the vestry chose for the year: marketing and evangelism, youth and families, and missio (Latin word meaning “to send”). The vestry decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” This week we want to give you a little more information about these three vestry priorities and the team members that are involved.

Marketing and Evangelism

This team will continue to build upon the vital work that was started by last year’s Marketing and Evangelism team. A primary goal of this group is to help grow Good Samaritan’s presence in the greater Sammamish area and invite those called by God to join with us in our lifelong journey with Christ. Good Samaritan is a safe and welcoming place for all people to gather, and as Christians we feel called to do our part in making it easier for Good Samaritan to be found by those seeking community. The team is currently preparing a marketing plan for the year, but a few actions that are expected include increasing the amount of signage and banners around the community, developing and implementing a social media plan, and building work groups to participate in community events. The goal for all activities is to let those seeking God that Good Samaritan is a place that welcomes them. We ask for your prayers and support in transforming Good Samaritan from a hidden gem into a shining beacon on the plateau.

This team includes Rick Tidball (leader), Amy Bowers and Brian Swensen.

Youth and Families

Youth and Families is the fastest and most consistently growing demographic of Good Samaritan’s congregation. There is a gap in how this segment is being served compared to the potential of how it can be served. High functioning families with busy and demanding schedules can find it difficult to carve out time to explore, grow, and renew their faith. The Youth and Families team will be looking for new ways and opportunities for these faith seekers and the congregation to experience a deeper sense of community, connection and belonging. We ask for your prayers and support in shaping Good Samaritan into a third place (outside of work/school and home) where spiritual and communal transformation can take hold.

This team includes Steve Foster (leader), Patrick Duff and Patricia Waltner.

Missio

As Christians, when we make and renew our baptizmal vows it is a call of action and support. To serve, seek and love Christ in each and every human being. Each week we ask God “to send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” Nurturing and supporting one another not only within the walls that we identify as Good Samaritan Episcopal Church but also outside of them, in those spaces where life happens. That, in a nutshell, is what the Missio group has been tasked with undertaking. God is already at work within peoples lives at Good Samaritan. There are many current opportunities to engage outside of church such as; Issaquah Meals, Men’s and Women’s groups, Trunk or Treat, and the activities the Faith in Action (FIA) committee is developing, the list goes on. The need and opportunity to serve our community is greater now than seemingly ever before. The Missio team, along with FIA, will be partnering with other faith communities and organizations to engage out in the community and with the members of the congregation. We ask for your prayers and support as the Missio team continues to explore and discern the best paths forward in ways to participate in God’s grace.

This team includes Jim Martin (leader), Jane Harrell and Carol Stamper.

Please be on the lookout for more information about these three vestry priorities as the year progresses.

Yours in Christ,

Brian Swensen, Junior Warden
Rick Tidball, Senior Warden


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From the Rector: On the Seventh Day, God…

I recently read an article published some years ago in The New York Times by the neurologist Oliver Sacks on the topic of Sabbath. Sacks abandoned his Jewish faith as a teenager, but later in life came to be somewhat of a spiritual seeker. As he moved toward the end of life, his appreciation of the Jewish observance of Sabbath deepened because he saw in it a metaphor for how life is to be lived: “doing good in one’s work and activity and enjoying the peace of the Sabbath.”

Let’s face it. As American Christians we take the “doing good in one’s work and activity” and run with it! We fill our schedules with activities and social events. Busy-ness has almost become a sign of moral uprightness for most of us. Don’t get me wrong. Doing good in one’s work, engaging in activities that keep us healthy and growing, taking on projects that help others—all those things are good, and Scripture is clear that God sees those works as holy. Scripture also tells us that after six days of creative activity, God rested. One of the ten commandments, remember, is to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy (set apart). Jesus observed the Sabbath, too, although he flipped his lid when the religious leaders objected to his healing work on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them that humans were not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for them. In other words, Sabbath is a gift.

As Christians, we don’t observe Sabbath in the ways that Jesus or our Jewish sisters and brothers do. Nevertheless, the principle of Sabbath—a time for rest, worship, and renewal—is a gift from God, and is part of our faith tradition. Keeping Sabbath, after all, made it into God’s top ten things to do or not to do! So, what does Sabbath mean for us and how do we unwrap the gift that it is in our own day? How do we make space in our busy schedules and in our cluttered minds for rest and renewal?

During the season of Lent, we are going to explore what Sabbath means for us today, why it’s essential for living a healthy life, and how we can open our lives to the rest and renewal God desires for us, even in the midst of our busy lives. We’ll address it in sermons, discuss it in adult formation, and explore the role of prayer in Sabbath on three Wednesday nights in March. We’re working to make this teaching as practical and accessible as possible. I hope you’ll commit to engage as much as you can as a part of your Lenten observance.

Faithfully,

Fr. Steve+


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From the Rector: Send Us Out

In the Book of Common Prayer 1979 there are two options for the post-communion prayer. The second option concludes with a petition asking God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” That petition is a reminder that the vast majority of God’s work goes on outside the walls of the church building the other 166 hours a week!
 
On Tuesday afternoon I attended the retirement reception of one of our parishioners, Dr. Philip Ballinger. Philip, husband of our former deacon, Kathryn, is Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Washington and is retiring this month after over 30 years of service in university admissions and enrollment. At the reception, speaker after speaker spoke about Philip’s integrity and collegial spirit. What struck me most was the work he has done to increase fair and equitable access to higher education. During his time at UW, the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body at UW has grown dramatically. In reality, Philip has been doing God’s work—Kingdom work—in his career in higher education. It was evident, too, that the Christ-like way in which he approached his job has made a lasting impact on his colleagues at UW and literally around the world.*
 
Philip, of course, is not the only lay person in our parish doing ministry through their vocations. Week after week I hear stories about how people in our parish are living out their faith and making a difference in the world. Teachers who bring the values of our Baptismal Covenant into the classroom, managers who treat their teams with fairness and respect, parents who seek to instill Christian values in their children, volunteers who work with and lead in community service organizations, parishioners who are kind to their neighbors—this is what it means to be the Church sent out to do the work God has given us to do. Not just on Tuesday at the retirement reception, but almost every Sunday I hear what you are doing to make God’s love known in your everyday life. Your stories and your commitment to follow Christ throughout the week wherever you are inspires me!
 
At our vestry retreat last weekend, your vestry chose three ministry priorities for the year: 1) marketing and evangelism, 2) youth and families, and 3) what I will call, for now, “missio,” the Latin word for “to send.” We decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” The send, or missio, priority arose as we asked ourselves how we were doing as a parish in preparing and inspiring one another to leave our corporate worship experiences to do God’s work in our family life, work life, social and civic life, and, yes, even in our parish life. You’ll be hearing more about these three priority areas of the vestry soon. Suffice it to say here that your vestry, Rector, and the Faith in Action Commission will give even more intentionality to how we can lead, guide, and support one another as we are sent into the world to do the work God has given us to do!
 
Excitedly,
Fr. Steve+
 
*Philip will be our guest speaker at the Seasoned Saints luncheon on March 9, at 12 noon, here at the church.  He’ll share more about his training as a Jesuit priest, his career in higher education, and the new project he’s working on with UW.

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From the Rector: Church Policies for Inclement Weather

Dear all,
 
It snowed on Thursday, January 9, which brings back vivid memories of last year’s Snowmeggedon. In response to that chaos, we formulated an inclement weather policy, and since more inclement weather is expected in the next few days, here just a few reminders:
  1. The church office and the preschool follows the Lake Washington School District closure protocol. If the school district declares schools closed, we are closed. If they are open, we are open. If there’s an early closure, we observe that too.
  2. If inclement weather is expected on a Sunday, I will consult with the wardens as to whether we cancel services. We will usually make the decision by 6 pm on Saturday. At that point I will notify the staff, and we will send a parish-wide email. We will also put a pop-up on our website, and send a text from MyGoodSam to those who have signed up for that service.
  3. If a significant weather event takes place overnight on a Saturday, we’ll make any decision and get information out by 6 am that Sunday.
  4. The staff and the Facilities team will do their best to keep an eye on the driveway, sidewalks, and porch area for snow and get a plow if possible.
As always, weather conditions may be different at the church than where you live. Don’t go out if road conditions in your area are treacherous.
 
Let me know if you have questions or concerns.
 
—Fr. Steve+

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Guatemala Dinner

Friday, February 7, at 6:30 pm

Join the Good Samaritan Guatemalan Mission Team for a Guatemalan-themed dinner and details about the work the team will be doing March 1-8. You’ll learn more about Safe Passage (the organization with whom we’ll be working) and Guatemala, and hear updates about the Gregorys, our missionary family serving in Guatemala City. The dinner and program is the team’s gift to the parish and an invitation to support the trip with your prayers and financial support. Donations received will go to directly support the work of Safe Passage. Reservations are required.
 
CONTACT: Lorene Ehlers
Come join us at this fantastic event!
Can’t go, but want to support the cause?
*Choose the line “Mission Trip (Waterfield Fund)”

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Reverse Advent Calendar

This year we’re introducing a new Advent tradition that is not only fun to do, but teaches little ones and reminds adults about the grace of sharing. Many advent calendars will contain a small gift or candy that is opened or received on each day of Advent, leading up to Christmas Day. The Reverse Advent Calendar focuses attention on sharing with those in need and the joy that comes from giving. You and your family is encouraged to purchase at least one or more of the items in week 1 and 3, bring it to church on the following Sunday for a blessing and distribution. In week 2, you’re encouraged to read and reflect on material about the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and bring an offering on Sunday, December 15, to support their work.

Use the link below to download PDFs of the guide and the calendar, which you can attach to the fridge for easy reference!

Download the complete guide.

Download the calendar only.


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Report on the 2019 Diocesan Convention

109th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

Lynnwood Convention Center, November 8 & 9, 2019

 

Over 400 clergy and lay delegates attended the convention, representing over 90 congregations in our Diocese. Good Samaritan was represented by Fr. Steve, Rev. Chris, Sally Farrell, Merri Alexander, and Rick Tidball.
 

The meeting began with a series of breakout sessions that included a report on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a report on a task force studying the issue of homelessness, the state of the Palestinian crisis, and many more. The homelessness task force is asking parishes to see if they have underutilized space that might be converted to temporary housing, or explore the possibility of using church parking lots to house car/RV camping during the week. In the afternoon, a series of reports were presented, including a Standing Committee report from Fr. Steve. Rev. Chris gave a Board of Directors report that stated the Diocese was divesting itself from fossil fuel stocks, and reinvesting those funds in clean and renewable energy. Rev. Chris also talked about climate change and the Diocese’s commitment to reducing our overall carbon footprint. Additionally, our Diocese has signed a covenant with the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines to purchase carbon offsets by planting trees.

Several resolutions were voted on, including cost of living adjustments for clergy and our commitment to affordable housing. The delegates elected four clergy and four lay delegates to attend the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, in July 2021.

The Good Samaritan welcome video was shown to the entire convention in the afternoon session as an example of how the Diocese can help churches with marketing and raising awareness. Bishop Rickel gave a talk about his recent Walkabout and his discernment to determine if he will continue as our Bishop after serving for the previous 12 years. He expects to make an announcement by the end of the year. Bishop Rickel also discussed how funds from parish assessment fees are used. Good Sam’s current assessment rate is 14.5%. While some of the funds are used to operate the Diocese, much of the funding is used for wonderful outreach programs. You can access information on the Diocese website.

The convention concluded with a Holy Eucharist and a lovely Deacon ordination. All in all, it was a privilege to sit with members and clergy of other local parishes to share information and worship together.


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Staff and Children’s Ministry Update

In our Baptismal Covenant, parents and godparents of children being baptized make solemn promises to raise the child in the Christian faith. The Celebrant then addresses the congregation, asking if they will do all in their power to support the child’s life in Christ (BCP 303). Over the past few years, I believe we as a congregation have taken the necessary steps to ensure that we are fulfilling the promise we make to children and their parents at Baptism. As you know, when Fr. Brian’s curacy was coming to an end, we began the process of evaluating our staffing needs for children and youth. The result of that process is that the Vestry and I have come to some conclusions, which we are now ready to share with the congregation. I am pleased to announce that the Vestry has created a new staff position: Director of Children’s Ministries. I have asked Lisa Treadway to serve in that position, and she has accepted and will begin her new role on November 1.

So, what does that mean, you may be asking? In addition to serving as the Director of Good Samaritan School, Lisa will serve as the minister to children (age birth through 5th grade) and families for the parish. She will give oversight to the children’s formation programs, as well as working with the clergy to plan and implement ministries that support the faith formation of our families with children. We are in the process of working with Lisa to provide additional administrative support for the School, and she will step away from other leadership roles in the parish, including coffee hour. You’ll be hearing more from the parish leadership in the coming days about how you can support our ministry to families and coffee hour, so stay tuned!

As your Rector and Head of the Good Samaritan School, I cannot be more pleased with this decision and Lisa’s willingness to serve in this new position. She has led our School to become one of the most sought after preschools in our area. The school is flourishing in every way, and as I write this note to you, the enrollment is near capacity. Lisa understands her role in the School to be more than a Director, but as a minister, as well. Every weekday, I watch her serve the students, parents, and the staff in a manner that represents and reflects the Christian faith and Christ’s Way of Love. She is a blessing to the School, and now brings her expertise and passion for serving children to our parish. Thanks be to God!

I know that you’ll join me in giving your support to Lisa and the team who so faithfully serve our children Sunday after Sunday. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the Vestry.

Gratefully,
Fr. Steve+


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